Today in History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2017. There are 12 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 19, 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.

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On this date:

In 1813, British forces captured Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.

In 1843, “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.

In 1907, 239 workers died in a coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.

In 1932, the British Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its Empire Service to Australia.

In 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.

In 1957, Meredith Willson’s musical play “The Music Man” opened on Broadway.

In 1961, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., 73, suffered a debilitating stroke while in Palm Beach, Florida.

In 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States in the U.S. Senate chamber by Chief Justice Warren Burger with President Gerald R. Ford looking on.

In 1975, John Paul Stevens was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1986, the Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner. Lawrence E. Walsh was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1997, a SilkAir Boeing 737-300 plunged from the sky, crashing into an Indonesian river and killing all 104 people aboard. James Cameron’s epic film “Titanic” opened in U.S. theaters.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was subsequently acquitted by the Senate).

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush signed legislation increasing fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles and requiring wider use of ethanol. An explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Jacksonville, Florida, killed four workers. Rescuers found Frederick Dominguez and his three children, who had been lost in the mountains for three days during a snowstorm, alive in a northern California ravine.

Five years ago: Four State Department officials resigned under pressure, less than a day after a damning report blamed management failures for a lack of security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, where militants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Park Geun-hye (goon-hay), daughter of late South Korean President Park Chung-hee, was elected the country’s first female president. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was voted Associated Press coach of the year. Legal scholar and onetime Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork died in Arlington, Virginia, at age 85.

One year ago: A Turkish policeman fatally shot Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov at a photo exhibit in Ankara. (The assailant was later killed in a police shootout.) A truck rammed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 12 people in an attack claimed by Islamic State (the suspected attacker was killed in a police shootout four days later).

Today’s Birthdays: Former game show contestant Herb Stempel is 91. Actress Elaine Joyce is 74. Actor Tim Reid is 73. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 73. Musician John McEuen is 72. Singer Janie Fricke is 70. Jazz musician Lenny White is 68. Actor Mike Lookinland is 57. Actress Jennifer Beals is 54. Actor Scott Cohen is 53. Actor Robert MacNaughton is 51. Magician Criss Angel is 50. Rock musician Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe) is 50. Actor Ken Marino is 49. Actor Elvis Nolasco is 49. Rock musician Kevin Shepard is 49. Actor Derek Webster is 49. Actress Kristy Swanson is 48. Model Tyson Beckford is 47. Actress Amy Locane is 46. Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp is 45. Actress Rosa Blasi is 45. Actress Alyssa Milano is 45. Actress Tara Summers is 38. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (JIH’-lihn-hahl) is 37. Actress Marla Sokoloff is 37. Rapper Lady Sovereign is 32. Journalist Ronan Farrow is 30.